Fairy Tales for Adults

Many fairy tale retellings are written for young adults. Why not, when most of the protagonists are girls who are becoming women? You have YA Cinderella retellings in which the Cinderella character grows up and leaves her evil stepmother behind, and YA Beauty and the Beast retellings in which the Belle character falls in love with a beast. But what about adult retellings? Below are a collection of adult novels that retell or are inspired by particular fairy tales. But be warned – some of these stories are not meant for children. 

CINDERELLA

Gregory Maguire is well-known for his novel featuring the Wicked Witch of the West as the protagonist, the story which became a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Turning the antagonist in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series into the good guy. He does it again here, writing the story of the stepsisters who Cinderella leaves behind in the original version. In Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Maguire spins the popular fairy tale into the story of whether beauty really triumphs over ugliness. Will getting the prince really lead to a life of happily-ever-after? 


SNOW WHITE

Unlike Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Maguire’s retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” fits more closely with the tale which inspired it. In Mirror Mirror, Don Vicente de Nevada is sent by Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, children of a wicked pope, on a quest that will take years to accomplish, leaving his daughter, Bianca, in their care. Lucrezia becomes jealous of Bianca’s blossoming beauty, and, well, you know how the story goes. 

Things are much different in Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel retelling, Snow, Glass, Apples. The queen attempts to save her kingdom from her evil stepdaughter, but the girl, or creature, is not easily foiled. Between the graphic images and violent actions of the characters, this book is not for young readers or the faint of heart.


THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES 

Not as popular as “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” the story of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is depicted in Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. Every night, Jo “The General” and her eleven sisters sneak out to dance at club after club to temporarily escape the pressures at home, with their controlling father planning on setting them up for marriage. One night, they are caught in a raid and separated. Will Jo, the mother figure to all the girls, continue to put her sisters’ or father’s needs before her own?

MORE FAIRY TALES

The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology or Adult Fairy Tales series, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is a curated collection of fairy tale retellings from some of the best writers, including Neil Gaiman (he just loves rewriting fairy tales), Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Robin McKinley, Patricia C. Wrede, Tanith Lee, and more! There are six books in this series, all available in ebook-format on hoopla:

Each volume of dark fairy tale retellings reimagines the classic tales we all know in story and poem form. Some of these same writers are contributors to another fairy tale anthology, Happily Ever After, edited by John Klima, also available on hoopla. 

For even more fairy tales, and not just ones for adults, take a look at the Folklore collection on Overdrive or through the Libby app. You’ll find some of the ya books from the YA Cinderella Retellings and YA Beauty and the Beast Retellings posts, as well as currently unmentioned titles. Annaleigh and her eleven sisters sneak out to dance at balls, and four of the girls meet a tragic demise in House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig’s “Twelve Dancing Princesses” retelling. For more by Neil Gaiman, The Sleeper and the Spindle combines elements of “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

hoopla also has an extensive Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology collection of ebooks. Find out what would have happened if Aladdin never found the lamp in Liz Braswell’s A Whole New World, watch Cinderella slay zombies in Ella, the Slayer by A. W. Exley, or go back to the beginning with The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

No matter what your favorite fairy tale is, Abbot Public Library has plenty to choose from!

Reading on Broadway

Pull up a front row seat as the curtain opens…to reveal these fantastic scripts and stories made for the stage! 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun in 1959. Set in Chicago, it is the story of a black working class family struggling with economic pressures and living in a small apartment. Sadly, the grandfather has died, and they must carefully decide what to do with the life insurance money. They choose to invest in a home, but are met with brutal racism as it is in a white community. The title is a quote from the Langston Hughes poem Harlem.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child created by J.K. Rowling and written by Jack Thorne

Harry Potter leaves the pages for the stage in this script for the eighth volume featuring the famous wizard. Years after the end of Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are now sending their own children to Hogwarts.

Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This hit Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, who was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. Miranda was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton

Accessible on Overdrive as an ebook and audiobook. You can also listen to the Original Broadway Soundtrack on hoopla.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

First in the Wicked Years Series, this highly imaginative portrayal of L. Frank Baum’s Wicked Witch of the West was adapted to become a popular Broadway play. Set before Dorothy’s arrival, Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (later known as Glinda) are good friends but unfortunately love the same man. Familiar characters emerge as this interesting perspective of the tale unfolds. The play won multiple Tony Awards and a Grammy.

Listen to the 2003, 2013, and 15th Anniversary 2019 soundtracks on hoopla!

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

This play opened in 1947 and takes place in New Orleans. Blanche DuBois was going through financial hardships and moved to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche becomes involved with Stanley’s friend, Mitch, until rumors come to light about why Blanche was fired from her teaching position and how her husband died. There are disturbing scenes depicting cruelty in the flawed characters. This play won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards.

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook.

The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The play first premiered in 1895 in London. It was Wilde’s most successful play. Written by the king of the epigram, it abounds with humor. The story is about Algernon Moncrieff and his good friend, Jack Worthing. Jack wants to propose to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn, but has told her his name was Earnest, and she seems to love him more for that fact. Meanwhile, Algernon is intrigued to meet Jack’s niece, Cecily, in the country, and Cecily thinks Algernon’s name is Earnest. This is a light hearted romantic comedy. 

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook

Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Written as a monologue and starring the writer, this funny and moving story debuted in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before going on to theatre in London, and eventually becoming a BBC series which she won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series. She is engaged with the audience during the story, sharing her events with us.

If you want to be swept away in even more screenplays, check out our The Majesty and Magic of Live Performance post, as well as this drama collection on Overdrive/Libby as well as these screenplays, drama movies, musicals, and soundtracks on hoopla.